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Intro: "The president's failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down has cursed his first term, and could prevent a second."

Illustration, President Obama for Frank Rich, New York Magazine column, 07/04/11. (art: Eddie Guy/New York Magazine)
Illustration, President Obama for Frank Rich, New York Magazine column, 07/04/11. (art: Eddie Guy/New York Magazine)

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+29 # ruthee 2011-07-04 15:57
all comments here add up to "OMG,what shall we do as voters?" I do know i shall not vote for many incumbents in the legislature. President? He'd better keep on getting more and more guts. I cannot vote for Republicans, however.
+48 # in deo veritas 2011-07-04 16:00
The Glass-Steagall Act was appropriately mentioned as prevening a rerun of the reckless bank policies that brought the crash. This is Needed again! HR1489 to reinstate Glass-Steagall has an increasing number of sponsors at this time-time that is rapidly running out to save our economy or status as a nation-state. Contact your representative in the House and demand that action be taken on HR1489 before it is too late!
+16 # Still_Standing 2011-07-04 16:05
I think Rich hit the nail on the head with this article. Obama failed himself and the American people when he pulled his punches and let these crooks walk. Of course, it wasn't his only failure in the past 2-1/2 years, but it's a big one and it's one of the major reasons I'm not going to vote for him in 2012.
+22 # chick 2011-07-04 16:59
Well still standing don't vote for Obama,
The Republicans will be very, very happy,

If there are more people like you we can see the end of
Social Security
workmans Compensation
Minimum wage
Womens rights taken away
Public schools closed- vouchers open
laws taken away so kids of 10 12 can go to worki
Fdic (now your money will not be guaranteed by the Government

I can go on and on. There is no one on the horizon that would be a better President and if we give him a true Democaratic majority then you will see
a president who does not have to compromise with the no, no party.

You and I both no he really never had a democtratic majority with those blue nose Democarts working with the Republicans.
Get rid of them and vote true Democrats in.
+2 # Still_Standing 2011-07-04 18:15
Sorry, chick, but lesser evilism is precisely the flawed strategy that brought us a lousy president like Obama. I knew he was a rat when prior to the election, he voted to renew FISA and let the telecoms off the hook for their illegal spying. He then fought the repeal of don't ask-don't tell until Harry Reid pushed it through the Senate. He has sustained both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (although he recently proposed a token and meaningless withdrawal from Afghanistan). And he's started a new conflict in Libya.

I could go on listing Mr. Obama's many perfidies, but what's the point? He's a disaster from any progressive point of view and only a fool would cast their precious vote in his direction. So long as people like you vote for the lesser of two evils, the Democrats will NEVER present us with a worthwhile candidate.

If my vote for a third party candidate puts a Republican in the White House, so be it. Perhaps that outcome would spur citizens to finally storm the Bastille and cast out the sewage - Republican and Democratic - that currently pollutes our political life.
0 # cabotool 2011-07-04 19:22
right on. The lesser of two evils is always evil. "A skunk by any other name, still stinks."
-6 # rf 2011-07-05 07:11
I prefer a Republican in the White House who says he is a t a Democrat that is one in name only.
+9 # universlman 2011-07-05 09:29
Quoting Still_Standing:
If my vote for a third party candidate puts a Republican in the White House, so be it.

because of our 2 party system, this approach is self defeating - this is the thinking that gave us George W Bush and his gift to the American people called the War in Iraq, tax cuts slanted to the wealthy and a Supreme Court that now favors the influence of money over justice for all
+3 # Texas Aggie 2011-07-04 21:47
The thought just came to me that if there were a republican president but a Democratic Senate, then maybe the senators would actually stop following the republican script. As it is now, the president and both houses are pushing the republican agenda, just not forcefully, so there really isn't anything blocking it. But if there were a split between the Senate and the president, the senate would be more likely to block the republicans' program.
-6 # rf 2011-07-05 07:10
When it gets bad enough that American morons can't afford a television to watch fox propaganda, then maybe we will get some "change we can believe in" since it will not be coming any time soon from the corrupt Democrats. Vote Green, Liberal, Communist...any thing but them we cannot be taken for granted!
+40 # Dorian Brown 2011-07-04 16:13
Michelle Bachman is not only incompetent to be a presidential candidate, she is SCAREY! She is a myopic, bigoted, self-centered fundamentalist who does not care or understand why the Church and State must remain separate, On the other hand, Obama is the most disappointing President we have had in the US. What we
need desperately at this time is a great and good leader to arise to solve the many, serious issues challenging our leaders and negatively impacting our citizens.
+30 # Chysippus 2011-07-04 17:05
Many of us progressives were disappointed in Obama's performance in his first two years. Why was that? I believe it's because we thought he was a flaming liberal, whereas he told us in his book, "The Audacity of Hope," that he was a bi-partisan consenualist. So no matter how disappointed Frank Rich is, the alternative to Obama in 2012 would be a disaster of unprecedented proportions.

Obama might not be the best we can hope for, but he's certainly head and shoulders above the Neanderthanl Republican crowd.
-2 # rf 2011-07-05 07:14
Why is he better...his policies are no better than Bush. They just pretend to be better...he is a total fake...not a con-sensualist.
+7 # D12345 2011-07-04 17:42
Rich is better than O'reilly or Beck...but his pop psychology stuff is pretty thin.

This business that Obama is attracted to smart white guys is bizarre. I don't notice him attracted to Krugman, or Reich, or Stiglitz. All extremely bright, extremely white, and Ivy League.

This mythology about the "community organizer" is very hollow.
A brief moment, and very little done.

More telling are candidate Obama's love of Reagan, "He curbed the excesses of the 60's..."He made us feel better about ourselves."

There is no record of him ever Doing Anything...befo re becoming president.

This idea that he has somehow lost his way is wrong.
+8 # giraffee2012 2011-07-04 17:46
I need one thing explained: I worked for years and paid taxes for my "entitlements" -- but those who are handi capped or disabled or illegals (or whatever) who collect on medicare etc (I have a nephew who collects about a grand / month after getting hit by a bus -- but he never paid into it -- oh and he had all his medical paid for = over a million) --- so I figure these people are getting entitlements but I paid for the use of these - contributing for years and years.

WHY DO THE DEMS allow this MIX to define these "entitlements" (Ok the word entitlement apples to those who never paid into the system - -but what about the rest of us? Do we all have to go down bc the government who has their OWN MEDICAL/RETIREM ENT -- lump us all together and then do "we the people" and the "dems" Believe this scenario?

I'm furious.

Secondly. The big money who gamble on Wall Street get to write off their losses when they have a good year (called a loop hole) -- but I don't get to write off anything so HOW CAN THEY GET a benefit that the rest of us can't use? (Unless you've invested in Wall Street to make all your money) --

Equal would be to average the years I'm underpaid or laid off with those years I'm making full salary.

Am I crazy or do my 2 arguments to "fight" the GOP rhetoric make sense to anybody else?
+20 # giraffee2012 2011-07-04 17:49
Only way to equalize the playing field is to vote OUT the GOP/TP -- so register now (especially if you're in a state with a GOP governor) and get a mail-in ballot. Get your OLD and YOUNG neighbors registered (etc) too.

GET your vote in any way you can -- don't sit at home and then wonder why we're a banana republic (I know that was a mean statement) -- but the dems are NOT as dirty .....

Support the troops but not the military. Do not vote in any war hawk and that is my opinion.
+20 # J.Lindsley 2011-07-04 17:53
What we need are more self-informed and self thinking voters willing to do the homework of being a citizen and not buying into the charisma factor that so many base their selection on.
+21 # Wizardbob 2011-07-04 19:10
you are right. I wonder how many voters actually know how many job creating bills were killed in the Senate with all republicans voting against them. The last being the Economic Development Act which Sen Collins from Maine praised the act, saying it created jobs and secured private investment. This was in the morning, then voted against the EDA in the afternoon. Now tell me republicans are for creating jobs in this country. They are disgusting.
+37 # Katrin Winterer 2011-07-04 18:05
Nothing will change until we have publicly funded elections and limit the campaigning to say, 8 weeks like the Brits.
+1 # brucezell 2011-07-04 19:01
True, but that will NEVER change!
+4 # Hazel Rozema 2011-07-05 23:35
I totally agree we should limit campaigning to 8 weeks and limit the number of TV ads a candidate can buy which will help keep big money out of campaigns.
+12 # beeyl 2011-07-04 18:22
"[Obama] has come across as favoring the financial elite over the stranded middle class even if, in his heart of hearts, he does not."

It's impossible to know what's in Obama's heart of hearts, and as long as he continues to favor billionaires and big corporations over the middle class, it's impossible for most of us to care: in the end, his intentions don't matter as long as he governs in the worst and most unfair way.

My only hope is that folks like me who voted for him in 2008 will consider withholding their support from him unless and until he grows a pair and starts fulfilling the campaign promises that earned him those votes.
+15 # brucezell 2011-07-04 18:27
The US has a facist government, defined by the fact that the large corporations are the ones that run things for the last forty years. Of course any main stream media talking head would never dare say this truth. They would be fired instantly for saying that by the large corporatins they work for.

NO president could ever go up against this large and well established corrupt establishment. IT WILL NEVER CHANGE!
The only way it could change is by a complete collapse of this system. What will rise from the ashes, remains to be seen.
+7 # cabotool 2011-07-04 19:27
I agree with you whole heartedly. The present system is absolutely unusable and absolutely corrupt. We need to start over and "kill a few snakes?
+14 # Mike K 2011-07-04 18:39
Obama's "origional sin" is just another part of the Democrats larger problem over the last twenty years. Pretty much every dirty deed Bush 43 did was begun under Ronald Reagan and Bush 41 but those presidents misdded went largely unchallenged by Clinton who prefered to "move on". Under Clinton the Democrats avoided direct confrontation with GOP and the right, prefering instead to play nice and give ground to them. This left the Democrats much weaker and looking not that much differnt from the GOP.
After the 06 and 08 elections the Democrats again decied to move on, try to over look the "high crimes and misdemeaners" of that the GOP had clearly comitted and play nice rather than point out the blatent hypocracy of there opponents, who have since become deadly enemies not only of the Democratic party but of Democracy and much of America.
+8 # Mike K 2011-07-04 18:54
Rather than fight agianst the right and vigorasly defend the ground taken and thing acheaved by the left in the sixties, or even the fourties and fifties, the Dems have taken right wing policy and ideaology as there own in a incredeibly foolish effort to make nice with the GOP and get legislation of anykind passed. As Ezra Klein recently said "The Obama Administration has a funny tendacy to start (negotiations) with what they think would be a acceptable final compromise to the Republicans".
+15 # fredboy 2011-07-04 18:56
Obama should have championed reviving the Glass-Steagall Act as soon as he got in office, with the dust clouds of the financial collapse still on the horizon. But he didn't. Such advocacy and care would have helped him keep the House. But it was nowhere. So many of us, once so intent to support a just and caring Democratic Party, have little hope. So ironic, as the man once preached the power of that magnificent spiritual power.

I believe it is time for a magnificent independent candidate to run for the Presidency.
+10 # golferdawn 2011-07-04 20:33
I can't believe the people here who think it is better to vote in one of these idiot Republicans, who surely will make our lives miserable, instead of giving Obama a chance with a truly Democratic Congress. Instead of whining, get involved and make a difference.
+2 # CTPatriot 2011-07-05 06:46
We already know what Obama will do with a truly Democratic congress -- the same thing he did during his first 2 years in office -- govern like a Republican Lite. But you go ahead and keep dreaming for the miracle that will never come as long as we keep electing corporatist Democrats.
0 # rf 2011-07-05 07:21
There are other parties than Dem. and Rep.
Why don't you think about voting Green or socialist or Liberal? It might make your vote count...because now when you vote you are voting for the one party...the Corporate party.
+14 # hildred sprayregen 2011-07-04 20:46
Although I voted for Obama and had great hopes for his administration, there are some thing that disappoint me.However, no matter how "bad" you think he may be, just picture what the Republicans would do to this country! We have to vote Democratic or we will end up with a theocracy or worse!
-7 # rf 2011-07-05 07:24
They might get us into new wars...oops...O bama did that!
They might have US citizens spied on with no warant...oops! He did that too!
They might hand us over to medical corporate interests...Oop s...did that!
Might let banksters off the hook...Did that!

What didn't Obama do that the republicans like...HE IS A REPUBLICAN in all but name.
+16 # AngryMan 2011-07-04 21:21
Mr. President:
You are the coach. The team is not capable of letting you down. Only you can let the team down.

You are responsible for outcomes. You get all the glory but you take all of the heat. Taking heat is not a shared responsibility.

These are but two of the many rules for Management, by AngryMan. I spent a little time in management. I know how to get things done. Mr. President, I'd be in your debt if you'd show me that you too know how do get things done. And the things you get done had better be what the boss wants. If I am not the "boss" then what am I? I am the guy who will not be voting for you ever again ... that's who.

I make no threats. I make promises. I just made one. I am not alone, sir. I'll share one more rule of management with you: Do not condemn, criticize, or complain. Remember your criticizing those who elected you because you caved into the Republicans back in 2010? That was a sign of a poor manager, sir. The honeymoon is over and getting down to brass tacks is long overdue.

PS I want my constitutionall y guaranteed rights restored f**king now!
+3 # Patricia Chang 2011-07-05 01:25
Indeed, to a Progressive, it is obvious that the Republicans are worse than Obama. But,that is like saying a West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito is worse than a Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever- carrying tick. In the end, both will make you sick. And, that is exactly what has happened. In voting, I have to look to my own morality and conscience. I cannot trust Barack Obama. If you can vote for a man, who would easily sell you down the river, be my guest. If you believe in rendition, torture, cutting benefits for pregnant women and poor children, vote for Obama. I cannot vote for the lunatic Republicans. They have gone so far to the right, they make no sense whatsoever. But,you know right up front, they are nuts. With Obama, it is all smoke and mirrors, half-truths, half-assed legislation that leaves millions out in the cold, and wars that he refuses to stop. I cannot, in good conscience, vote for him. I will let the rest of you do that. I think we are going to Hell in a handbasket, anyway. We either get there a little sooner or a little later. It makes no difference. Our government is broken; and until the majority of citizens get off their patooties, get their heads out of the sand, and either form a third party of substance or revolt, we are going down. The agent of our demise may be a Romney or an Obama, but the end result will be the same.
-2 # beeyl 2011-07-05 13:26
I agree absolutely, but I would add that Obama is worse than a Republican in one important way: because the media and most sheeple define any position he takes as liberal, his actions distort every political debate he enters and substantiate what were once solely GOP positions as bipartisan (even though they are anything but that). For example, by promoting or protecting it, Bush made torture a GOP position, but Obama's protection of torturers made it an American position. And the same goes for most of the conservative outrages that followed 9/11.
+2 # antineocon 2011-07-05 01:41
GOD another one of being forced to choose the best of the worst. when will real americans who care about the american peoiple stand up and run I guess they don't have enough money is the problem
+2 # A.O. 2011-07-05 01:50
Nothing sounds more fearful than a liberal retorts. Frank Rich is in that mode. Demolishing Wall Street after it was already down would have been far more tragic and akin to Nero's acts in Roman Empire. The failures to turn the economy around shows a nation in denial of its standing in the world. Also, it shows political amnesia, that it would take time to reverse the immense fundamental losses recorded and created by two wars, heavy emphasis and costly wars on terrorism, the rise of other competing economies like China and India while America has been saddled with all sorts of diversionary and costly military ventures. If you don't it, go check how much we have spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republicans sank the economy and rescuing is going to be even more arduous as long as they focus more on regaining power rather than working with Obama to save it from further collapsing. If you start with 8 years of George Bush which created $11 trillion deficit after it met and spent the $620 billion that Bill Clinton left in the treasury, plus 4 years of Obama. Well, you may just be looking at America's lost decade rather than Obama's failures.
+7 # futhark 2011-07-05 06:18
Obama needs to apologize to those who supported him in 2008 for his sorry performance in office and commit himself to ardent and energetic pursuit of peace, justice, ecological stability, and real security for all people. Step 1: send back that Nobel Peace Prize with a note that he will be happy to re-accept it once it has been earned.
+5 # HommeVieux2 2011-07-05 08:24
The fundamental character weakness of our President is his need to fit in and be accepted by "his betters", a lifelong challenge in his incredible rise from the back streets of Indonesia to the presidency of our country. That this should be otherwise would be too much to demand of another human being. But to be acceptable by our financial elites constrained what he could bring himself to do out of his own personal constitution -- he could never say as FDR did "I welcome their hatred". It is all so very sad. I am more convinced than ever that only an aristocrat who is already comfortable "inside" can be an effective Democrat.
+8 # artful 2011-07-05 08:37
With certain knowledge that
"too big to fail" banks and their moronic CEOs, aided and abetted of course by their republican cheeleaders, have brought our national economy to the brink of collapse and perhaps national bankruptcy, I have come to the conclusion that once a bank reaches "too bhig to fail" status, it should be immediately subject to being broken up. We need our banks to return to the now quaint notion of "community banks"--remembe r them? Perhaps we need to return to the notion of walls around banks, to prevent their greedy CEOs from growing too big for their britches. Leveraged investment firms should be licensed as Wall Street Gambling institutions.
+4 # Papa Jim 2011-07-05 10:04
Even though It is hard to imagine a President better suited to our times, nor one whose intelligence we can be prouder of, it became slear almost from the start that he was too much mesmerized by the fairy tales (and actualities) of monetary accumulation to crack down on wrongdoers who were egregious accumulators.!1 Alas
+2 # Diane Johnson 2011-07-05 10:33
Winston Churchill once tried to appease fachists It looks like Obama tried
+2 # Wiley 2011-07-05 11:55
It's hopeless...with a lazy electorate whose forgotten that democracy takes work and vigilance... and the the corporations which have loyalty only to their stockholders controlling the agenda and media...we're screwed...
-1 # Sally Blakemore 2011-07-05 12:47
Obama played us like the Martin-Luther-K ing-Dream-Speec h-Believers we all were. He wasted human capital on saving Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, Gonzales, Powell, Pearle, Yoo and the others who have fed from the neck of the American citizens.
Vote, but don't support either of these ridiculous "parties". Take away the money and stop public advertising for candidates. The country is DONE, FINISHED until we get the justice we need to right this boat. Impeach and prosecute for TREASON, the above mentioned and take away that ridiculous NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. Obama has started more wars, tortured more people, killed more with drones and stomped on the heart of American citizens. I was a supporter but not after I saw him whisper in Bush's ear on the steps after his swearing in. Whispered in the rat's ear. Disgusting predators.
-1 # rm 2011-07-05 17:41
Obama is a neo-con. He conned us all into voting for him. Remember that Leo Strauss, the theorist of the neo-cons, advised that political lying is a worthy strategy for those who know they have the mission to rule the unknowing masses. That's his original sin.
+2 # Walhalla 2011-07-05 21:35
8 yrs of GW and continued neocon rule ruined any chance of ANY Dem Prez to succeed....blac k or white
0 # stonecutter 2011-07-06 11:36
Chang comment above is trenchant. I concur 99%, since I leave 1% for hope against hope. I see myself withdrawing completely from interest in national politics, since it's like watching the same catastrophic train wreck over and over again, a "Groundhog Day' of mediocrity, empty rhetoric, corruption, mendacity, narcissistic self-aggrandizm ent, and policy paralysis.

With "leadership" the likes of Obama, Boehner, Cantor, Hoyer, McConnell, Pelosi and the somnambulant Harry Reid, one can only lament the loss of the likes of JFK, Teddy, Wellstone, Tip O'Neill or Dan Rostenkowski, who took no prisoners and no crap from anyone. Even Ike looks good compared to the hacks populating D.C. in this era of zero-progress. Those old-school Democrats had backbone, with a sense of where they came from, of history, of the rights and aspirations of working people, and sadly, their legacy has been obliterated by the current crop of limp, sellout DINO's and reactionary right-wing extremists.

I saw Reince Preibus on TV today, the new GOP party chairman. He looks and sounds like a pre-pubescent WASP Eagle Scout from Hell. I can't imagine being more different than this whitebread right-wing drone from Wisconsin. Yet, the America I believe in has ample room for both me and him, and Julio, Chang and Loquisha. His America only has room for 312 million clones of himself. No thanks.
+1 # Demfatale 2011-07-07 04:29
Sally Blakemore, I only wish that there were some way to put 25 votes in the "like" tally for your comments. I wrote elsewhere tonight that I hope he writes a book after this is over, and tells us what happened to him between November 2008 and January 2009. At least, we deserve an explanation. And by "we," I mean the world.
-1 # CL38 2011-07-07 22:19
I have to say it--Hillary Clinton would have made a far superior President. She would have called the right on their tactics, named exactly what they were up to, and why. She wouldn't have allowed Republicans to use her, the way they've played Obama.

She knew from personal experience the scheming depths to which they descend and she would have sent them to a corner to take a time-out!

Obama doesn't understand how to use the power of the Presidency or the bully pulpit.

The right calls him a monkey and other snide, sneaky racist epithets and Obama gets down on his knees and shines their shoes. This is like something out of a Kafka novel.
0 # CB 2011-07-09 16:49
The illustration of Obama makes him look like Jimmy Carter in black-face. Was this by design?

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